The Not-So-Fab Four: Understanding the Four Most Common Mental Health Issues in Students

Students with mental health issuesWhat do you picture when someone mentions a student with ADHD?

Maybe a child running wild about the classroom? Perhaps you imagine a visibly frustrated student, constrained to a chair and desk, unable to focus on an assignment?

But how would you direct the wild-child to engage in your lesson? What strategy would you pull out to try and diffuse the agitated student, and allow him/her to  finish the assignment?

ADHD, mood disorders, depression, and conduct disorders can dramatically change the specific classroom needs for students with mental health issues. Lisa Van Gemert gives a solid foundation for understanding these four issues, and supporting students who deal with them, in her one-hour course, “Not So Fab Four.”

A former teacher, school administrator, and now consultant and Mensa member, Ms. Van Gemert uses the experiences she gleaned in schools and her journey through “Giftedland” to help you effectively accomplish your goals in the classroom.

This is Your Brain on Drugs

Although pharmaceuticals are central in both the medical and mental health fields, medical doctors have the advantage of cultures, microscopes, and imaging tests to determine proper treatment for ailments.

Students with mental health issuesIn contrast, mental health professionals have a much less precise pool of complicated data to draw diagnoses and treatments from; and students suffer when educators fail to learn and ask questions about the best ways to support them, without leaning entirely on medication.

Ritalin or Prozac will never be a stand-alone “fix” for students with mental health issues, and each creates a host of its own physical and emotional issues.

Ms. Van Gemert sympathizes with educators who are overwhelmed by students with mental health issues, and the extra considerations that arise when they use medications. “It would be nice to say ‘this is just a little too complex for me. I think I’ll just ignore it and pretend that all of the students I deal with have no mental health issues.’ But unfortunately that is not an option,” she says.

Plan for Success

Students with mental health issuesWhat are a few of the strategies Ms. Van Gemert offers for supporting students with mental health issues?

  • ADHD/ADD: Work on the most difficult concepts early in the day (schedule hardest classes early)
  • Mood Disorders: Allow flexible deadlines for work completion
  • Depression: Separate student from peers who are negative or who frequently point out the failings of others. Allow students using medication to have a water bottle nearby to combat dry-mouth
  • Conduct Disorders: Be positive (“I’ll come help you when you get back to your seat” instead of “If you don’t sit down, I can’t help you”)

The course handout Ms. Van Gemert designed is an invaluable resource for educators, full of helpful tools, descriptions, and expectations. Facilitating learning in a classroom where students have mental health issues doesn’t have to be a guessing game, nor does it have to depend solely on counselors for direction. Educators are on the front line of de-stigmatizing and supporting these students.

Get Started

Choose to make a difference in the lives of students who are struggling with mental health conditions. Join Ms. Van Gemert to grow your understanding of their struggles, and the strategies that can make a world of difference in your classroom, and in the lives of students who are struggling.

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Delivering Quality Training – No Matter Where You Are

Mobile Ready Professional Development GDid you know that this course is mobile ready? That means you can complete the course on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer, or any other mobile device!

Photos courtesy of Flickr via Peaches&Cream, JuditK, and GotCredit